The Shiva Purana (English translation)

by J. L. Shastri | 1970 | 616,585 words

This page relates “principles of shiva cult” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Chapter 5 - The Principles of Śiva cult

Sūta said:—

1. There at the outset the fortunate residents of the Naimiṣa bowed duly to lord Vāyu and asked him.

The sages said:—

2. How did you, sir, acquire the knowledge of Śiva? Wherefore is your devotion to Śiva, the Brahman whose birth is unmanifest.

Vāyu said:—

3. The twenty-first kalpa shall be known as Śvetalohita. In that kalpa the four-faced lord, desirous of creative activity performed a penance.

4-5. Delighted by his austere penance his father lord Śiva, foremost among the handsome assumed the divine form of a bechelor [bachelor?]. He became a sage Śveta and uttering divine.words appeared in front of him.

G. On seeing his father, Brahmā bowed to him and secured perfect knowledge along with Gāyatrī.

7. Having acquired knowledge, the four-faced lord created all living beings—the mobile and immobile.

8. That immortal knowledge was acquired by me through the power of penance from that face through which it was acquired by Brahmā.

The sages said:—

9. What is that knowledge attained by you—the knowledge that is auspicious, more truthful than the most truthful, abiding by which a man attains happiness.

Vāyu said:—

10. Great and steady devotion shall be applied by a man who wishes for happiness, for the perfect knowledge of the individual soul, illusion and the lord who releases from the bondage.

11-12. Misery arises from ignorance. It is removed by knowledge that is a correct and precise comprehension of objects. Object is twofold: sentient and non-sentient. There is a controller of the two. The three are called Paśu, Pāśa and Pati.

13. On many occasions knowers of reality call the three by Akṣara, Kṣara and Kṣarākṣarapara.

14. The Paśu is called Akṣara. The Pāśa is called Kṣara. Pati is called Kṣarākṣarapara.

The sages said:—

15. O Māruta, please mention What is Kṣara? What is Akṣara? What is that which is greater and beyond these two?

Vāyu said:—

16. Prakṛti is Kṣara. Puruṣa is Akṣara. The one who urges these two is the greatest Parameśvara.

The sages said:—

17. What is this Prakṛti? Who is Puruṣa? What is the relationship between the two? Who is this instigator Īśvara?

Vāyu said:—

18. Māyā is the Prakṛti. Puruṣa is enveloped by Māyā. The relationship is through the root and Karman. Lord Śiva is the instigator.

The sages said:—

19. What is this Māyā that is mentioned? Of what form is he who is enveloped by Māyā? Of what nature is the root? Whence is it? What is Śivahood? Whence is Śiva?

Vāyu said:—

20. Māyā is the Śakti of Maheśvara. The form of Cit is enveloped by Māyā. The dirt is that which covers the Cit. Śivatva is his own innate purity.

The sages said:—

21. How does the Māyā cover up the pervading one? What for? Why is this covering up of the Puruṣa? By what is it made to recede?

Vāyu said:—

22. Even a pervasive can he covered just as Kalā etc. that are pervasive. The cause is Karman alone. The purpose is enjoyment. It recedes when dirt is quelled.

The sages said:—

23-24. What are these Kalā etc.? What is Karman? What its beginning and what its end? What the fruit? What the support? Whose enjoyment? What is enjoyed What is the means of enjoyment, the cause of the diminution of dirt? Of what nature is the Puruṣa devoid of dirt?

Vāyu said:—

25-28. Kalā, Vidyā, Rāga, Kāla and Niyati, these are certain entities Tlir enjoyer is Puruṣa, Karman is merit and sin. The fruits are happiness and misery. The beginningless dirt[?] till the enjoyment rests in the ignorant soul. Enjoyment is for quelling Karman. The unmanifest is what is enjoyed. The means of enjoyment is the body with external and the internal senses as doors. Dirt is quelled by grace acquired by piety. When the dirt is quelled the Puruṣa becomes equal to Śiva.

The sages said:—

29. What are the several functions of the five principles Kalā etc.? Why is Atman called the enjoyer and Puruṣa?

30. Of what nature is that unmanifest? In what form is it enjoyed? What is its instrument in the act of enjoyment? What is it called body?

Vāyu said:—

31. Vidyā (learning) that reveals the place and activity, time and passion these are the inducing agents. Time is the conditioning factor there; destiny is the controlling factor.

32. The unmanifest is the cause. It consists of three Guṇas. It is the source of origin and the place of merger. It is called Pradhāna and Prakṛti by philosophers.

33. Characteristically unmanifest it becomes manifest through Kalās. It is of the form and content of happiness, misery and delusion while being enjoyed. It has the three Guṇas.

34. The Guṇas Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, originate from Prakṛti. Like oil in the gingelly seed they are present in the latest form in Prakṛti.

35-36. Happiness and its cause constitute briefly the Sātttvaic trait. The Rājasaic trait is its opposite. Stunned state and delusion are Tāmasic traits. The Sāttvaic movement is upward progress; the Tāmasic one is downfall; the middle course is cited as Rājasaic.

37-38. Briefly the unmanifest with its ramifications is as follows:—five subtle and primary dements, five gross elements, five sense-organs of activity and the set of four, viz. Pradhāna, intellect, ego and mind.

39. When it is in the state of a cause, it is unmanifest; when it is in the state of an effect such as the body, pot etc, it is manifest.

40. Just as the pot is not materially different from clay, so the manifest, body etc. is not materially different from the unmanifest.

41. Hence the unmanifest alone is the cause of the composite viz. organs, body but their support, the object or enjoyment is unmanifest.

The sages said:—

42. How can Ātman which is separate from the sense-organs and the body exist?

Vāyu said:—

43. The separateness of all-pervading lord from the intellect, sense-organs and the body is definite. There is something called Ātman. A reason thereof is difficult to understand.

44. The intellect, the sense-organs and the bodies are not the Ātman due to indefinite knowledge and non-eternality.

45. Hence the one who has the cognition of experienced objects and comprehends the entire knowables, is sung about in the Vedas and Upaniṣads as the immanent soul.

46. It is eternal. It incorporates and pervades everything. It stands everywhere. Still it is not perceived by any one clearly anywhere.

47. This Atman cannot be perceived by the eye nor by any other sense-organ. The great Ātman is comprehended only by the enlightened mind.

48. It is neither woman nor man nor an eunuch. It is neither above nor below nor in the sides. It is nowhere.

49. It remains unembodied in the unsteady bodies. It is stable and steady like a stump. It is unchanging. Only the sober, self-possessed and bold can perceive it by means of reflection.

50. Of what avail is much talk? The Puruṣa is separate from the body. Unwarranted is the vision of those who do not see it separate.

51. There is nothing more impure, uncontrolled, miserable and uncertain than the body of the Puruṣa.

52. The Puruṣa becomes happy, miserable or deluded on becoming associated with the body—the seed of all adversities caused by his own activities.

53. As the field flooded with water generates sprouts so also the action flooded with ignorance generates the man.

54. Thousands in number are his bodies both of the past and the future. These are mortals, abodes of excessive distress.

55. A perpetual stay in the bodies that successively come to the embodied soul and get shattered, is never attained by any one.

56. Covered by and separated from these bodies this soul resembles the disc of the moon in the sky that is covered by and separated from the passing clouds.

57. The different activities of the soul in the different bodies resemble the motion of the die in the different squares in the chess-board.

58. None belongs to him. He does not belong to anyone. The contact with wives, sons and kinsmen is but a chance meeting on the way.

59. The mutual contact of living beings is like that of a piece of log with another log in the great ocean. The two meet together and get separated.[1]

60. He sees the body but the body does not see him. A certain other being, the great Ātman secs both but both of them do not see him.

61. All living beings beginning with Brahmā and ending with the immobile are termed Paśus. Examples cited relate to these Paśus.

62. These Paśus are bound with Pāśa (noose) and are fed upon joy and misery as their fodder. The wise say that these are but instruments of games and sports of lord Śiva.

63. The ignorant creature cannot effect and prevent his happiness and misery. Induced by the lord he goes up to the heaven or falls into the deep ditch.

Śūta said:—

64. On hearing these words of Vāyu, the sages were delighted in their minds. After bowing to him who was expert in the Śaivitc Āgama they spoke:—

Footnotes and references:


The verse occurs in the ŚP of MB.